By David Rogers. April 27, 2016. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Some 84 years after Elliott Daingerfield passed away and knowing what we know now about his years of prolific artistry, it’s hard to imagine one of his paintings being stuck inside the back of a large bedroom mirror in a Pebble Beach, California mansion. But that is exactly what happened — and just over a month ago, its discovery set off a feeding frenzy — and bidding war — among fine art collectors. Now it is apparently “coming home,” to Blowing Rock.
COVER IMAGE: Photographic image of “Twilight” courtesy of Clars Auction Gallery website
The story of this painting dubbed, “Twilight,” more than likely had its beginnings in Blowing Rock. How it came to be hidden inside of a piece of bedroom furniture is a story that has yet to be fully told, but its discovery in March after being concealed for at least four decades is one of a kind.
…he noticed part of the backing on the mirror was loose.
Apparently, Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, California, was commissioned to auction off a number of items from the estate of a recently deceased woman who lived in Pebble Beach, the seaside resort and enclave of the affluent south of San Francisco, between Carmel to the south and Monterey to the north. Mr. Deric Torres, Clars’ Vice President of Decorative Arts and Furnishing, was working with the mirror, described as having, “…a significant Newcomb Macklin frame. As he was moving the mirror into the gallery for the upcoming sale, he noticed part of the backing on the mirror was loose.”
In his report to Clars management, Torres said, “I peeled away the backing and noticed there was a canvas and a stretcher bar behind the mirror, suggesting that a painting might be hidden underneath.”
According to the discovery’s account by Clars, Torres immediately contacted the firm’s Vice President of Fine Arts, Rich Unruh, “…and together they were extremely excited to find ‘Twilight.'”
She purchased what she believed was just a lovely mirror.
Based on information provided to Clars by the consignor to the auction house, his mother had purchased the mirror over 40 ago — “…purchasing what she believed was only a lovely mirror.”
The painting initially sold at auction on April 17th, for $39,325, after the bidding opened at $3,000. A Clars report described the bidding as “a battle,” and said, “…in the end it came down to two private phone bidders fighting furiously and driving the sale price….”
According to Blowing Rock’s Tim Miller, owner of Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery, the painting has since changed hands two more times. He stated that it will be exhibited in his gallery for an unspecified period, although the unidentified owner with Blowing Rock ties may opt to have it restored.
Mr. Unruh, the fine arts specialist of Oakland’s Clars Auction Gallery said, “Being preserved behind a mirror for over 40 years, the painting was in exceptional condition.”
One can only wonder how many times the owner looked into that same mirror and said, “I look like a million bucks!.”